Revell 1/72 Lockheed F-16C

Review by Mike O'Hare

 

One of the constant complaints by many modellers is the large number of toolings for certain subjects. "Not another Spitfire/Me-109/F-4/F-15/Whatever." It is also one often levelled at F-16 kits, and now there is yet another entrant from Revell Germany, which has just been re-released by Revell Monogram. But, as there are so many F-16 kits out there, is Revell's release enough of an improvement over the competition to be "worth it"? Absolutely. Simply put, Revell's F-16 Block 50/52 is now the F-16 kit to buy in 1/72. It even gives Hasegawa's 1/48 release a run for the money.

Based on their previous F-16AM, the newer boxing contains all the parts from that release, plus a full sprue of new parts for the C version, plus a few more surprises, such as the short chord, early stabilisers. Out of the box and with a little creativity, it will build almost any single seat F-16 being flown. The kit includes both parabrake and ECM tail fairings for the A tail - a carry over from the AM release. Using either the long or short chord stabs, this allows you to build any of the "NATO Vipers", at any point in their history. The C parts include the longer, wider, "normal" C fin base. A few minutes with a razor saw and file will allow you to sacrifice the C-style fin to build a short-tailed A. Add two bulges from sheet styrene and putty to this, and you'll have an ADF tail. A bit of sheet styrene and putty will also allow you to scab the ECM or parabrake extensions onto the C tail, to build Israeli, Greek, Turkish and Pakistani F-16's. And none of these modifications should take more than about ten minutes.

The kit also comes with both Small Mouth and Big Mouth intakes, nice renditions of both GE and Pratt exhausts, nose inserts for either the short AIFF bird slicers (if you're picky, these may need modifications to depict the taller style, or some of the Edwards "bulged" AIFF arrays) or normal, smooth nose, as well as three separate instrument panels, depicting the A, AM and C type consoles. Ordnance includes 4x AMRAAMs, 2X Sidewinders, optional pylons (enough LAU-107's for one complete aircraft, and LAU-128's for two complete aircraft), 2x GBU-10, 2x HARMs, 1x HTS, 2x 370gal. drop tanks (with clipped fins), 1x 300gal. drop tank, 1x AN/ALQ-131 and gun panel inserts for both the A and C type gas purge vents. It's a fantastic kit for building up the spares box.

Of course, the important question is, how does it compare with the competition. In my opinion, Hasegawa's kit is really the only other 1/72 F-16 worth bothering about, since the rest are all crude and/or hard to find, so here we go, point by point.

(top to bottom)

Ever decreasing stencils.  From top to bottom: Revell US F-16C, Revell Germany F-16C Block 50/52 and Revell Germany F-16AM releases.  

The decals seem to be getting worse in colour fidelity and detail.  The Revell US decals aren't particularly crisp, and have a thicker, yellowed carrier film, while the Revell Germany USAF roundels are the wrong shade of grey and, for some reason, have white centres.

 

Shape and accuracy:

Both are good, though Revell seem to do a better job of capturing the LERX shape - Hasegawa's is too "blended" when viewed from above. All Hasegawa F-16's are tooled with the F-16A style gun gas vent plate, which requires filling and re-scribing to (accurately) depict an F-16C. Revell includes both styles, though they can be a tad fiddly to insert. Grinding off the socket on the inside of the fuselage will help. You'll also note Revell's kit has more detail around the cockpit sills and a more accurate coaming.  Hasegawa's coaming is far too narrow.

 
Hasegawa upper fuselage.  Note LERX shape and panel detail. Revell upper fuselage, with slightly better LERX shape and heavier panel detail.

Surface detail:

It's really an issue of personal preference. Hasegawa have finer panel lines, while Revell's are slightly heavier. Hasegawa included rivet and fastener detail, while Revell's is more simplified. I personally like the looks of Hasegawa's surface detail, though others find Revell's approach easier for weathering, so it's a toss up.

Intakes:

They're different approaches, so it's a matter of ease versus appearances, mixed with personal taste. Hasegawa has a simple, "infinite intake" insert for the front of the inlet(s). I'm not fond of the look of it, but it is reasonably easy to build, even though the fit of the parts isn't the best. Revell's intakes need a bit of Milliput to smooth out some noticeable gaps inside where the ramp meets the side pieces, though it's an easy fix, and gives a better representation of depth when finished - not perfect, but not bad. Just build up the intake, roll out two small sausages of Milliput, press them into the corners of the intake with a paint brush handle and smooth out with a wet Q-Tip. Again, a question of preferences. One notable distinction, however, is that Revell provide both bulged Rapport III and "normal" intake lights, which lets you build, for instance, Israeli C's, as well as early Belgian A's.

Exhausts:

Revell includes actual, "deep" exhausts, which is far better than Hasegawa. The latter would have you mount the flame holder and exhaust straight to the back of the turkey feathers. Both Revell's and Hasegawa's Pratt exhausts lack petal detail on the inside, though Revell does provide some (as much as can be done on a one-part ring) on their GE exhaust, while Hasegawa's is bare. The sole criticism of Revell's exhausts is that both lack the series of rings in the external metallic fairing just fore of the turkey feathers, though it's a simple task to scribe them.

 

Hasegawa's Big Mouth assembly. Close-up of Hasegawa's bare GE exhaust.

 


 

Revell's Big Mouth intake and exhaust parts. Revell's intake and exhaust when built.

 

Revell weapons: GBU-10, AN/ALQ-131 and AIM-9

 
Hasegawa's tiny HTS (left) compared with Revell's accurate rendition (right)

Weapons:

This is a bit of an unfair comparison, given Hasegawa's total lack of weapons in most releases, but it's also where Revell really shines. Hasegawa's Big Mouth kits do include AMRAAMs, though, with the CJ releases also coming with HARMs and HTS, while the CG has a sprue from the latest weapons set tossed in (ostensibly for the LANTIRNS, but you also get a JDAM, JSOW and ALQ-185 short). Revell's AAM's are somewhat unspectacular, but certainly useable - the Sidewinder fins seem to be slightly off in shape, while the AMRAAMs have the slightly stubby noses of inert rounds (dip in CA to build up, then file to a point), and short, thick looking clipped fins, a bit of a pain if you want older, long finned AMRAAMs. That said, the clipped AMRAAMs are replacing the "normal" ones, and all the photos I've seen of Mountain Home F-16CJ's (one of the decal options) have AIM-120C's. Hasegawa's included Sidewinders are pretty bland, and not as nice as those in the newer weapons sets, though their AMRAAMs , which depict live rounds, are good. Revell's HARMs are fantastic, with faceted fins and crisp detail. The HARMS in Hasegawa's CJ release aren't bad, but disappointing in comparison. Revell actually tooled the HTS pod and pylon the proper size, though the front radome seems slightly pointy, while Hasegawa's looks to be about 1/100 in comparison. Revell lacks LANTIRNs should you want to build a Block 40/42 F-16, while, as mentioned. Hasegawa tossed in the LANTIRN sprue from their Weapons Set VII. You'll need at least one other weapons set to do a realistic warload though so it's a bit of a moot point. Revell also provide pylons with PIDS, a nifty bonus feature for newer F-16's. Finally, Revell include both early and late gun plates - Hasegawa's kits are all tooled with the A-type.

Hasegawa AIM-120B (left) with Revell's slightly snub-nosed AIM-120C (right)  Hasegawa's have the radome of a live round, while Revell's is that of the training version. Revell (outer) and Hasegawa (inner) HARMs.  Note facetting on Revell HARMs

Beer Can LEF antennae:

These deserve special mention. Revell's are smaller, but are moulded sideways, and simply slide over the leading edge flap. Hasegawa's are moulded vertically, sit too low, and need to be faired over the LEF with a bit of putty - not a fun job. Kudos to Revell for actually thinking about the modeller.

 
Revell's more modeller friendly Beer Cans (inner pair) won't need any scraping or sculpting to add to the LEFs.

Cockpit:

There really isn't any comparison here. Revell's is fantastic, with nice raised instrument panel details (for all three panels), and side console detail. The sidestick is great, and the throttle has to be seen to be believed - it's a work of art. The only thing missing is the raised sidewall detail, really. The kit's seat is nice, and very useable, though as always, resin will be better. Hasegawa, by comparison, has flat instrument panels, flat side consoles, and a bland seat. The decal instrument panels don't look bad with the canopy closed, but everything seems a bit undersized. Speaking of the canopy, neither kit includes accurate, bulged canopies. Hasegawa seem to have moulded their canopy so the sides match the outer width of the bulge on a real F-16 canopy, so that it looks accurate. Revell seem to have tooled theirs so the sides match the width of the canopy at its base (where the Perspex meets the metal framing), and so is narrower. Hasegawa's does look a bit better, though hopefully someone will come along with accurate, bulged canopies some day to solve the problem completely.  This means you, Falcon.

 
Revell's cockpit tub, with sidestick and throttle inset. The three instrument panel configurations included in the kit: A, C and AM.

 

And Hasegawa's idea of 1/72 cockpit detail.  Nicely done, but a far cry from Revell.

Landing Gear/Gear Wells:

Again, no contest: Revell includes detail, Hasegawa doesn't. Revell has very nice, fine detail on the gear struts, with excellent bay detail - better than Hasegawa's 1/48 kit. It also includes clear landing light lenses. Hasegawa's struts are pretty bare, as are the wheel wells. Unfortunately, however, Revell did not include the bulged main gear doors (though the do include bulged tyres), which means you'll have to add a blob of Milliput to the doors to simulate the bulge for Block 40/42 and 50/52 F-16s. It's yet another easy fix, but a big disappointment that Revell ignored them.

Revell's main gear bay and nose gear bay/intake ramp. Hasegawa's main landing gear bay.

And last but not least, fit:

Again, it's a bit of a toss up - Hasegawa has separate wings, which can have fit problems, and are by their nature prone to misalignment. Revell moulded the wings with the rear fuselage, but have a separate forward fuselage that can be tricky to join. Neither cause problems with a bit of care - add Hasegawa's wings to the upper fuselage before joining the fuselage halves for a seamless fit, while Revell's fore/aft seam has to be built with CA, in short sections, from the centre out to get everything lined up properly. It's also worth noting that Hasegawa's F-16's have an annoying seam running the length of the radome, while Revell provides a separate radome. Otherwise, both pretty much fall together (apart from the previously mentioned Revell intake).

Conclusion:

Revell's F-16 isn't perfect, and Hasegawa's kits still do have their good points, but without a shadow of a doubt, Revell wins hands down, for several reasons. Both kits are roughly the same price, so for the sheer number of options and flexibility, Revell wins. The Revell kit can be built A or C, big mouth or small mouth, with parabrake, ECM, or normal tail, or even as an ADF (with a bit of work), long or short chord stabs, with either exhaust. Hasegawa's kits, by comparison, are either A OR C, and won't work for parabraked or ECMed Vipers without resin conversions, so for flexibility, again Revell wings. Revell also wins for the detail, - it looks great out of the box. Hasegawa almost requires either the Eduard set, or CMK resin for a decent cockpit, gear wells and exhaust, or at the very least, some tubing to recess the exhaust, although that said, if you're going to do a superdetailed F-16 with the CMK sets, the Hasegawa kit IS the better choice. Revell also wins in terms of extras. Apart from some poorly rendered ordnance, Hasegawa's F-16s don't leave much for the spares bin. Revell's gives you a full set of missiles, two full sets of AAM pylons (the LAU-128's are useful for updating any F-15 kits laying about), wing pylons, two tail configurations, instrument panels, landing lights, gun vents and on and on. The extra bits will let you convert several Hasegawa F-16's you may have hanging around, and the ordnance is useful for most contemporary 1/72 jet models. Really, about the only benefit to any of the Hasegawa kits now is the wide variety of markings from the assorted releases. Though aftermarket companies have covered many of the subjects, some are still only available in Hasegawa kits. All we need now is for Revell to release the two-seaters to make the family complete.

 


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I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.